Have you stopped to consider how the quarantine has re-shaped the values you attribute to your healthy relationships? If so, you’re not alone. With there being no distractions with boozy brunches, fancy events, or foreign destinations, and the world in disarray, people have decided to look both inwards and outwards.
While this heightened self-awareness has made things, like self-care and mental wellbeing top priorities, it might have also caused a few casualties. These casualties being friends, family, and romantic partners that you once considered close. If this sounds like you, during your self-care journey you’ve most likely experience one of three things:
- Feeling strained. The red flags and imperfections of your closest relationships are being exposed or feel highlighted.
- Experiencing love overload. You’re feeling like you are a tad bit overwhelmed or smothered by the attention you are receiving.
- Feeling a major disconnect. You are feeling lonely despite all the ways you could be connecting with the people you’re closest to.
How do I know all of this? Well, I myself have been through every single stage of what I like to call the “Quarantine Relationship Cycle.” After many conversations, as well as witnessing a fair share of Quarantine Meltdowns, I’ve come to a calculated conclusion that this might be true for just about everyone.
Naturally, I decided to conduct a little research with the people that I have in my life. I asked friends, family, and my social network two simple questions:
- What qualities do you look for in a friend or a significant other?
- How has quarantined re-shaped these qualities?
If my theory is correct in that everyone has experienced this cycle in some way, then I could also figure out how to break it. Right?
The Top 6 Qualities of a Healthy Relationship
After taking to the internet, and soliciting thoughts from my loved ones, I nailed this goal. I’ve gathered the top 6 qualities that have been deemed the most important for any type of healthy relationship as a result of the quarantine.
1. “kindness is number one.”
Kindness resonated with almost every single person I talked to. Along with kindness, they were interested in relationships with people who could show that they were caring, empathetic, and patient. Here’s why kindness is important during a time like this:
- “To be honest I think yeah I’ve gotten a lot more strict about the kindness thing especially seeing people risking others’ lives during this time. I think I’m a lot less tolerant of any kind of bullshit now.”
2. “someone who will make me a priority.”
Someone to call your best friend, who’s loyal, knows the importance of quality time, is reliable, and can support you, was hands down a few of the most requested qualities. This makes complete sense, especially as people have been feeling disconnected from the outside world. Here’s why making your loved ones a priority should be your priority:
- “Engagement is huge because it paves the path for you both to get to know each other much better – the small details that make your relationship that much more special.”
- “Loyalty and honesty are without a doubt a no brainer as well because having someone in your corner at all times and knowing you have someone willing to never mislead you with the undeniable truth is the foundation for what’s to authentically come.”
3. “someone who will listen to you without judgment or criticism”
People have felt the need to connect with others who are willing to hear them out and be as open-minded as possible, especially with heated topics being put at the forefront during the quarantine. Along these lines, being vulnerable to someone they trust was a major appeal during my conversations with my network. Here are a few thoughts on what it means to be supportive and open-minded:
- “I’ve lost a couple of relationships during quarantine because people went crazy, [so] I think the best quality someone has is a willingness to understand someone else and not close them out because something doesn’t go right.”
- “Someone who will apologize for their actions w/o me having to tell them what they did to make me mad. These are actually new qualities for me. The whole pandemic has given me so much time to work on myself and figure out my needs/who I am.”
4. “good social skills”
Again, the disconnect has intensified the need for reliable conversationalists for many people. Here are their thoughts on why having good social and communication skills are a must:
- “I love my awkward friends but in a partner, I can’t rely on them to be an extension of myself when I’m absent if they’re fumbling socially”
- “I think [it’s] intensified, in the sense that good friends still text, video call, or somehow stay in contact even when you can’t meet up! Some have sorta dropped off the face of the earth during quarantine even after I’ve reached out, which is annoying. I think all this relates to people staying loyal, kind, and making time for others.”
5. “someone who wants a relationship too”
Actually wanting a relationship, should be a given, but most people have found that that’s not the case. Their patience has also been running thin when it comes to this specific quality. Here are their thoughts:
- “If I have to ask for it, I don’t want it anymore. I feel like in my past those are qualities I wanted but never made them very important like I am now.”
- “[I consider] whether or not the effort [that I am] putting in is being matched. “
- “For me personally, it’s extremely important that whoever you intend to build any relationship with [is] open to being transparent with who they are and invest just as much into getting to know you as you do for them.”
6. “be adventurous”
After being locked up for an extended amount of time, it’s only natural that people are in search of spontaneity, laughter, and a dash of fun! If you don’t take anything from this list, make sure you at least include this tip moving forward. Here’s why you should want to be adventurous, and make space for adventurous people in your life:
- “Being adventurous is also very valuable to me because in times of uncomfortableness, fear, and uncertainty, you are forced to get out of your comfort zone and that is when people really experience a lot of growth. And when your friend/partner is able to share that experience and grow together, that instance becomes a stronger, more unique bond and moment in your relationship.”
- Someone who has the same values for all human life
- Someone who is aware of, prescient, and involved in the issues around them
- Someone who has good character
If you’re considering hopping off of the Quarantine Relationship Cycle, you should reassess your current relationships. The questions below will aid you during your self-discovery journey.
Before keeping energies in your life or allowing new ones in, ask these questions:
- Have my values and tolerance changed over the course of the quarantine?
- What qualities must my relationships posses in order for them to be considered healthy?
- How will I protect my energy moving forward?
After answering the questions above, what qualities are most important to you? Let us know in the comments below!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Deja White is a digital storyteller that finds comfort in connecting with new people, uncovering hidden food gems, and binging the latest television obsession. She’s on a mission to inspire others to explore uncharted territories (aka traveling more), successfully navigate their career journeys, and prosper in their daily lives. You can keep up with all of her adventures and get inspired on her blog Breakroom Buddha, or connect via the Breakroom Buddha Instagram!